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[fab-yuh-luh s] /ˈfæb yə ləs/
almost impossible to believe; incredible.
Informal. exceptionally good or unusual; marvelous; superb:
a fabulous bargain; a fabulous new house.
told about in fables; purely imaginary:
the fabulous exploits of Hercules.
known about only through myths or legends.
Origin of fabulous
1540-50; < Latin fābulōsus, equivalent to fābul(a) fable + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
fabulously, adverb
fabulousness, noun
unfabulous, adjective
unfabulously, adverb
3. fabled, fictitious, invented, fictional. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fabulous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Zan explained that Mr. Hamilton had thorough-bred dogs that he showed at exhibitions or sold for fabulous prices to dog-fanciers.

    The Woodcraft Girls at Camp Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • He also gave me an admirable chameleon, a prehistoric, fabulous sort of animal.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • From the threaded ruddy ore of her hair rose a perfume like the fabulous myrrhs of Olympus.

    The Puppet Crown Harold MacGrath
  • To most, the name of England was like that of some fabulous dream-land.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • Some people didn't go without clothes so readily; they were forever making use of that fabulous thing—credit!

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
British Dictionary definitions for fabulous


almost unbelievable; astounding; legendary: fabulous wealth
(informal) extremely good: a fabulous time at the party
of, relating to, or based upon fable: a fabulous beast
Derived Forms
fabulously, adverb
fabulousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin fābulōsus celebrated in fable, from fābulafable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fabulous

early 15c., "mythical, legendary," from Latin fabulosus "celebrated in fable; rich in myths," from fabula (see fable (n.)).

Sense of "incredible" first recorded c.1600. Slang shortening fab first recorded 1957; popularized in reference to The Beatles, c.1963.

Fabulous (often contracted to fab(s)) and fantastic are also in that long list of words which boys and girls use for a time to express high commendation and then get tired of, such as, to go no farther back than the present century, topping, spiffing, ripping, wizard, super, posh, smashing. [Gower's 1965 revision of Fowler's "Modern English Usage"]
Related: Fabulously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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